News & Politics

Greenspan Lost In Laissez-fair-world

Greenspan never lets reality intrude on his belief in laissez-faire ideology, so he sees no problem with the abusive power that corporate behemoths have amalgamated.
You've gotta love Alan Greenspan, the fusty old chairman of our country's central bank. He never lets reality intrude into his unquestioning belief in laissez-faire ideology, so he sees no problem with the abusive power that today's corporate behemoths have amalgamated. If Alan had been captain of the Titanic, he would not have seen the ship's collision course with the iceberg as a disaster, but as the free market's beneficent way of delivering ice to the passengers.

Take the Enron debacle. Greenspan says it's not an example of widespread corporate excess that warrants public action, but rather an example of the free market's magical ability to punish companies that go bad. He noted that Enron's stock is now next to worthless, so, he blithely explains, the market has severely disciplined the executives who deceived investors.

Hello ... Alan, reality knocking. It was not the executives who took the hit when Enron crashed -- they walked off with more than a billion dollars. It was the rank-and file employees and small investors who were left out in the cold, with their jobs gone and their retirement nest eggs destroyed.

And while Enron executives were
turning the company into a Ponzi scheme, their auditor, Arthur Anderson was gleefully signing off on the scams. Likewise, Enron's law firm, Vinson & Elkins, was unable to smell the stink of corruption even when a whistleblower rubbed the firm's nose in it. Meanwhile, Wall Street analysts wore ethical blinders and giddily urged investors to keep buying Enron stock right up to the day the corporation imploded.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... Enron is not a "bad boy" in an otherwise perfect system, as Greenspan naively claims. The system itself is corrupt and is failing our country. Enron is the inevitable product of the anything-goes, LaissezFairWorld that Greenspan and Enron executives themselves have foisted upon us. This is no time for lectures on free-market ideology -- it's time to reel in the greedheads, toughen corporate oversight, and protect workers and investors.